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"He definitely wrote that letter with something."

Translation:Určitě něčím ten dopis napsal.

September 18, 2017

19 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/L0k4ss0

I'm still a bit confused as to when word order is important or not. I tried "Určitě ten dopis napsal něčim" but it was taken as a wrong answer. So I ask, was my answer really wrong or is it currently just missing in the "accepted database"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EinatAdar

Same question for Určitě něčim napsal ten dopis? I don't know if it's incorrect or simply missing from the options?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/VladaFu

It is grammatically possible, but the meaning seems is strange to me. I could imagine it as some corner case but I would translate it to English differently. Say, "He must have written the letter with something." about a person that you wanted to prevent to write some specific letter and you are worried that he was succesful and wrote it with something.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Michal434686

It is a correct translation as well as the word order.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Leyla376769

Něčím ten dopis určitě napsal. As you can see the words are exactly the same, the only difference is the word order. Word order of Czech language is very flexible and allows many variants of messages. It must respect logical relations between words which my sentence does. So DO NOT MARK IT as INCORRECT, please !


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ValaCZE

Yes one sentence could have many possible translations. We really try to add all of them, but sometimes we just miss some. If you notice it, please help us by reporting it with the "button". Thanks.

BTW. I added your suggestion "Něčím ten dopis určitě napsal."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BrianG1941

I also am trying to work out word order. I used the same answer as EinatAdar with the theory i was placing emphasis on ten dopis. Would someone comment please on the issue.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BoneheadBass

This is not, unfortunately, a direct answer to the question that you and EinatAdar have asked, because I'm not one of the Czech experts. However, I can tell you that there are nearly 400 acceptable translations, nearly all of which have the verb at the end of the sentence (the others end with the verb followed by the personal pronoun ). So my guess is that the translation may place the emphasis on the act of writing, rather than on what was written, "with something." (Sorry I can't be more definitive!)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/VladaFu

I think we really need also the opinion of a native English speaker, whether the English sentence can have the proposed Czech meaning or not. See my answer to EinatAdar.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BoneheadBass

To me, the English sentence is straightforward, and there aren't many ways to rearrange the words. I can imagine only two word orders (the actual words could vary): "He definitely wrote that letter with something" and something like "Surely he wrote that letter with something." I feel a slight difference between the "definitely" and "surely" versions.

The first is a very "absolute" statement, while the second is a little fuzzier. As if I'm thinking: "This is weird. How could he have written the letter when he had nothing to write with or to write on? Well, since the letter is here, he must have somehow managed to write it with something."

(EDITED the above April 2019)


With regard to the Czech translation, I think that many of us who are taking the course are often confused by word order, because we just don't "feel" the difference between one arrangement and another. But it seems significant, somehow, that nearly all of the Czech translations have the verb at the end of the sentence (the others having the personal pronoun following the verb at the end).

It would be interesting to hear from more native English speakers about this one.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DeniseSchl5

I agree that there are not really many ways to rearrange the words. I agree also that the difficult with word order is knowing what to emphasize in which sentences.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/walkinwolk

I’ve tried the sentence with multiple czech translations all of which were wrong because of word order. I don’t know why this particular sentence is so problematic, but judging by the number of responses here, there needs to be a more flexible approach to the word order in the answer.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/VladaFu

In that case plesse be constructive and report actual missing translations. Otherwise we can't do much.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/walkinwolk

OK, next go round.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/walkinwolk

My answer of “Něčím určitě ten dopis napsal.” Should be accepted.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Chessnecof

Whi why is něco conjugated like a neuter stem ending with - í?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BoneheadBass

Něco is an indefinite pronoun formed by prepending ně- to the interrogative co, and it is declined like co. The instrumental form of co is čím, and so the instrumental form of něco is něčím.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PavelBotyg

Why is "Určitě něčím napsal ten dopis" wrong?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/VladaFu

That has a different meaning tjat tje main Czech translation. I am not sure if it is covered by the English sentence.

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